By Sukant Deepak New Delhi, Nov 24, : He claims that the world looks better when seen through a camera’s lens.
Sunil Gupta, London-based Photographer, is internationally acclaimed.
His work responds to injustices suffered gay men around the world.Sunil, who has lived on different continents, before settling in London.
He feels that migration has made him a detached observer.”It has helped my find the nuances in every day life as none of it seems natural’.He tells IANS that while nature didn’t create borders, humans did.”
Gupta’s works were recently presented by Vadehra Art Gallery, Frieze London.He also featured the works of a number of contemporary Indian artists, including B.V.Doshi and Rameshwar Broota.Since many years, he has been involved in independent photography as a critical practice that focuses on race, migration, and queer issues.
His works are in many private and public collections, including George Eastman House (Rochester USA); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Royal Ontario Museum, Tate Modern; Harvard University, and the Museum of Modern Art.The artist recalls the years 1980-82, when he first returned to India as a professional Photographer after having left Delhi at age 15.
“I was curious about the gay scene in my area and how to photograph it.It was difficult because everything was so secretive and no one wanted being photographed.I did my best and took a few photos.
Ask him if India’s reception of his work has changed since Section 377 was repealed.He replies, “No, it was impossible to show the work at the Habitat Gallery in Delhi organized by Radhika Singh in 2004 and it was very well-received.” In 2008, he had a solo show at Vadehra Gallery.The law was changed only later.Because it is the job of artists to ask questions about life, culture tends to be ahead the law.
What did he feel when he looked at “From Here to Eternity”, the well-received retrospective that chronicled his work over fifty years? He said, “Looking at it all I felt was love and friendship, and kinship.It crosses all borders, genders, and generations.I have met many wonderful people whom I love.”
Does someone who fled India in his teens think about how different things would have been if he hadn’t? “Yes, often, as I saw what happened with some of my classmates from school in Delhi.Unhappier lives, forced marriages, and unhappy spouses.Although I might have chosen that route, I was certain I was expecting to marry when I lived there as an adolescent.
It was a common occurrence for everyone to get married in the 1960s.
Gupta was HIV positive in 1995.
He may have explored the complexities and similarities of homosexuality, race, and migration throughout his life.But there are many other themes he would like explore at this stage in his career.”What is it like being an older gay man of Indian descent living with HIV? What does it mean for a man to be gay when the gender of his partner is so fluid? What does it mean for a gay man to be sexually fluid?
Gupta, who admires the work of Photographers such as Dayanita Singh and Gauri Gill, Sooni Taraporevala and Ketaki Sheth among others, says that while she was fine medically, HIV is also immune system-related, so she was well cared for in London.The UK has a wonderful National Health Service that is free and it’s brilliant.
It was difficult not to travel and do shows, but I was fortunate to have a husband (Photographer Charan Sing) and a great loft studio near our home, so I had company and space.As a lockdown project, I focused my work on my local street.It will be shown someday.”
The artist’s 1982 London street life book, launched at The Photographers Gallery in London on November 9, and he is currently working on a new book of his writings with Aperture, New York, which will be released in September 2022.
“I am also working with Studio Voltaire and Imperial Health Trust in London this yea that is looking at HIV survivors long term and people who have had gender reassignment surgeries in London recently.He concludes that the show should be on display in the early part of next year.
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